Thursday, August 18, 2016

Podcast with Bloomberg

I recorded a podcast with Bloomberg last week about using Hamilton to teach economics.  The link is here.

Friday, August 12, 2016

2016-2017 Liberty and Economic Freedom Speaker Series

The Liberty and Economic Freedom Speaker Series is continuing! In 2016-2017 we will be bringing three speakers to campus. This is the third year of the series and promises to be educational and fun. (See here and here for information on the previous two years).

Our speakers are:

Jeffrey Dorfman

How the 'well-meaning' government hurts the poor

Thursday, October 6th, 2016. 7:30 PM. Degenstein Theatre

Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman is an economist and professor at The University of Georgia, where he has been since 1989. He teaches classes in microeconomic theory, the economics of the food industry, and macroeconomic theory and policy. He performs research mostly on productivity measurement, economic forecasting, and the economics of growth and sprawl. He has authored three books, over seventy academic journal articles, and a variety of other articles published in trade publications, the popular press, and on the web. He writes regular opinion columns for and Forbes. In 2013, he was elected as a Fellow by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. He has testified to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, to the Georgia Senate Special Committee on Feedgrains, and to a USDA Panel on Farmland Preservation. He served as editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, the top academic outlet for his field, from 2009-2012. He is a consultant to a variety of businesses, foundations, and local governments with past and current clients including Sprint, the American Farmland Trust, Pennington Seed, Fulton County Schools, and numerous city and county governments in the Southeastern U.S. He is married, with one daughter, and they attend Central Presbyterian Church where he serves as treasurer.

Abdullah Al-Bahrani

Econ Beats: Discovering Economics in TV, Music, and Other Media

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017. 7:30 PM. Isaacs Auditorium

Dr. Abdullah Al Bahrani is the Director of the Center of Economic Education (NKU CEE) and an Assistant Professor of Economics at Northern Kentucky University. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Kentucky in 2010. His Master degree in Economic Theory was awarded by American University in Washington D.C. in 2003 and he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Economics from the University of Louisville in 2002.

Currently, Abdullah's primary focus is on innovative approaches to teaching Economics. He also examines market structure and competition in the banking and real estate industries. His research has been published in the Southern Economic Journal, Journal of Economic Education, International Review of Economics Education, and the Journal of Housing Research.

In 2016 he received the Excellence in Teaching and Instruction award at Northern Kentucky University. He is also the recipient of the Dean’s Citation for Teaching at the Haile/U.S Bank College of Business in 2015. At the University of Kentucky, while working on his graduate degree, he was awarded Most Outstanding Teaching Assistant in Economics at Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky.

Prior to joining academia, Dr. Al Bahrani worked in the mortgage industry from 2003-2006. He has also served as outside economic consult to the Ministry of Education, Sultanate of Oman and new business ventures entering Oman.

Joe Calhoun

Consumer Protection and Other Economic Fallacies

Monday, April 10th, 2017. 7:30 PM. Isaacs Auditorium

Joseph P. Calhoun is a Lecturer in the Department of Economics and the Assistant Director of the Stavros Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Economic Education at Florida State University. He currently teaches large principles of economics classes with annual enrollment of nearly 3,000 students. To enhance student learning and manage multiple large sections, he is a heavy user of technology both in and outside the classroom. He is also well known around campus for showing video clips to illustrate concepts and inject humorous breaks. In addition to leading workshops for the Stavros Center, he has presented teaching ideas and technology at several national conferences. He is also responsible for training and mentoring new graduate student teaching assistants for their initial teaching responsibilities at FSU.

A graduate of Illinois State University with a BS in finance and economics and of DePaul University with an MBA, he began his career in the health care industry before leaving to become an economist. His Ph.D. is from the University of Georgia.

Dr. Calhoun has received numerous teaching awards including the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award at the University of Georgia, the Undergraduate Teaching Award at FSU, and three times received the Service Excellence Award for Teaching from Phi Eta Sigma at FSU. He also won first place in the Economics Communicators Contest in 2008 which was cosponsored by the Association of Private Enterprise Education and Market Based Management Institute. He currently resides in Tallahassee, FL with his wife and four daughters.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Newest post on Broadway Economics: The World Will Know

Link here

Outraged after publisher Joseph Pulitzer increases the cost of newspapers for the delivery boys (“newsies”) to ten cents per hundred, head newsie Jack Kelly organizes a union and ultimately a strike among his fellow newsies. This strike is known in history as the Newsboys’ Strike of 1899.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

I am discussing economic issues in the Harrisburg Patriot News

I discussed the economy in a Harrisburg Patriot News article about Donald Trump's "War Zone" comment.

An excerpt:
Indeed, the shift away from manufacturing across central Pennsylvania - as in much of the state, which was once boasted the robust manufacturing of steel, aluminum, textiles, chemicals, metals, furniture and pharmaceuticals, is not a bad thing, Rousu explained.
The fact is that technology has allowed manufacturers to produce more with fewer people, he said.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Economics of choosing to live stream a Broadway show is attempting to become like a Broadway version of Netflix.  But in late June they did something that had never been done before - they live-streamed She Loves Me, a current Broadway show.

She Loves Me was a hit show that had always planned to only have a limited run, and indeed it closed on July 10th.  BroadwayHD charged $9.99 to watch the show live on Thursday, June 30.

The economics behind the decision of the producers of She Loves Me to stream is fascinating.  So what are the pros for a show choosing to live stream?
  1. It brings in extra immediate revenue (the $9.99*# of viewers)
  2. It brings in possible future revenue for the BroadwayHD site (which perhaps pays extra to She Loves Me for this?)
  3. It will likely be seen by hundreds of people who run high school, college, and community theatre musicals who might choose to this show.  To use/perform a show, you must pay for the rights, which is a (sometimes significant) source of revenue for shows.
  4. It could bring in extra revenue to the show - if people seeing the show on the stream then want to see it in person.  I.e., extra revenue if the live-stream and ticket sales are complements. (Although I don't think this is likely given its only open for a limited amount of time.)

What are the cons of choosing to live stream?
  1. Is watching a video of a Broadway show a substitute for seeing the show live?  If so, then the live-stream could hurt ticket sales on Broadway.  Similar to point four above - this doesn't seem to matter as much when the show only has a handful of performances left.
  2. Would showing a live-stream hurt the sales of a show that is hoping to tour?    
  3. How expensive is it to produce the broadcast?

Overall, it seems like the optimal decision here from a theatre producer's perspective is to live-stream but only at the very end of a run - and only if they think it is unlikely to do a national tour.  

Read what others have written about live-streaming Broadway shows here, here, and here.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Some economic thoughts on London

I'm in London right now.  I've been here for about a week leading a study-abroad trip.  It's been great overall, although unfortunately one student has been quite ill.  (She is getting better, thankfully.)

Some thoughts about London (and beyond London):

* Differences in the exchange rate makes a big difference to London's affordability.  The rate now is about 1.45 dollars/pound vs. 1.60 when I spent four months here in 2012.  But that means everything is about 10% cheaper.  Mentally it seems like London is much more affordable.

* London is expensive, but it only seems more expensive than central Pennsylvania for three reasons: housing is expensive, food at restaurants is expensive, and drinks at restaurants are expensive.  Entertainment, tours, clothing, etc. seem no more expensive than the states.

* West End theatre tickets are less expensive than Broadway.  And it isn't close.  For the cheapest ticket to Funny Girl - I paid 25 pounds.  That converts to about $36.  To compare - I bought a cheap ticket to a musical for June in New York called Waitress - that ticket was about $70.

* The tube is fantastic.  Public transportation only makes sense with a critical mass of people - but it is awesome when you have that.  It is just so convenient.  I recall hearing that the London transportation system (buses, tube, etc.) loses money.  But that's actually OK, as they would have spent some money on roads anyway without this system.

* Cambridge is a lovely city, and punting is fun!

Some pictures

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Elaborating on the amount Hamilton ticker resellers make

I was quoted in this Bloomberg story as saying:

At least $30,000 from every show goes to ticket resellers instead of the musical’s investors, producers and cast, according to Matt Rousu, an economics professor at Susquehanna University. With eight shows a week, that comes out to $240,000 every seven days, or almost $12.5 million a year filling the pockets of brokers, he said.

How did I come up with my estimate of $30,000?

Resale tickets rarely sell for less than $800 on ticketmaster.  Some sell for $1500-$2000.  The average price of a ticket from the Richard Rodgers Theatre is about $100-$200.  So that means we can conservatively estimate $600+ per resold ticket is going to resellers.

If you look at Ticketmaster, there are resale tickets available - and usually from 50-200 seats for sale for each show.

If you assume that just 50 tickets are sold on the resale market (likely way too low) and resellers are getting $600 per ticket (also low), you come up with an estimate of "at least $30,000" going to resellers.  In reality, it is probably much more.